Briton and Italian die in beach rescue near Brindisi

Emergency vehicles at the scene of rescue Image copyright Ostuni Notizie
Image caption There were strong currents in the sea when the accident happened. Picture courtesy of Ostuni Notizie

A British man and a beach worker have died at an Italian beach after they went to help the tourist's daughter who got into difficulties in rough seas.

Italian reports say the 11-year-old girl had been playing in the sea with her grandfather at a beach at Ostuni on the south-east coast near Brindisi.

When the pair struggled in a strong current, the girl's father and the local worker rushed to their aid.

They too were overcome by the waves and rescuers struggled to reach them.

The girl and her grandfather were eventually brought to safety.

The British tourist has not been officially identified, but local media named him as 48-year-old Simon Alessandro Pearson.

The UK foreign office said in a statement it was "supporting the family of a British man following his death".

The local worker has been identified as Martino Maggi, 49.

They were both rescued alive but died shortly afterwards despite attempts by rescue workers to save them, Ostuni Notizie website reports (in Italian).

Notorious for northerly winds

The incident unfolded at about 10:00 (08:00 GMT) on Tuesday, at Bosco Verde beach.

Officials say the sea there is notorious for a strong north-easterly wind and local reports suggest the two men who died were unable to get back to the shore because of the strength of the current.

"That stretch of coastline unfortunately isn't new to this kind of tragedy," Giuseppe Chiarelli of Brindisi port authority told Rai TV.

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